Malvern’s new dog-friendly shop is a hit with customers

A Malvern shop owner says his new rescue dog is a hit with customers.

Sean Austin, owner of Austin & Co in Great Malvern, is encouraging more businesses to accept dogs.

Sean adopted two-year-old Labrador Lucy from the Edward Labrador Rescue team a few months ago.

And she’s proven so popular that Sean has had to message several customers to let them know when she’ll be in the shop.

Lucy’s popularity has come as no surprise to Sean who says he has always been overshadowed by his old Labrador.

“Nessa, who we sadly lost earlier this year, was better known than me,” he said. “She was always ‘the card shop dog’ and I was just some random guy walking her.

Labrador Lucy at Austin & Co

“Now we have Lucy. She is currently in part-time apprentice mode, but expects to be full-time soon.

Austin & Co has been named the most dog-friendly store in the UK for five consecutive years before Covid and the best independent greeting card retailer for Wales and the Midlands for 2021.

“It’s always about being a little different from the main street homogeneity and selling what you know,” Sean said. “I know cards, stationery and dogs.

Worcester News: Lucy often joins store owner Sean Austin at workLucy often joins store owner Sean Austin at work

“Lucy Helps Me Sell”

“Lucy is a great icebreaker – customers will start talking about their dogs, we share stories, and it builds a relationship that gets people following us on social media and making return visits.

“Lucy helps me sell and gets the most likes on social media, but at the end of the day, she’s my pet dog. She’s here because I want her to be here. Everything she done to help promote the store or assist in the sale of a particular line is secondary.”

Worcester News: Malvern shop dog LucyMalvern Lucy Dog Shop

Research by Metro Bank suggests that almost half of UK consumers have gone into a store because of a shop dog, while 79% have spent money because a dog is inside.

Sean added: ‘Knowing that by simply allowing a dog into the store it can result in a sale that would otherwise have been missed should be a good incentive for people to make their businesses dog friendly.’

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